~420 pupils. A small picture of it here. Two floors with the hall the full
height and steel framed. Not timber frame in the accepted sense. I
"believe" some sort of pre-fabbed cassette walls with wooden "I" beams. The
south side is brick clad and the north side wood clad.
The local council has a good eco record and had Energy Village in the early
1980s. A collection of experimental eco homes. Some of them highly
advanced for the time (when the first superinsulated home without a full
heating system went on the market the estate agent dropped the asking price
as it never had a heating system). Hence going "eco" timber frame.
Sound insulation materials often are, usually high density thermal
insulation which is cheaper and not far off sound deadening material.
In this instance, have on a sort of cassette wall structure concrete
suspended floors may have bee too heavy.
Thermal mass is important, especially in a light framed building. It can be
added here and there, and the floors is one place. The ground floor is solid
with insulation under, so thermal mass there.
There is no reason to NOT use wood if all other issues are factored in and
But I do agree that here in the US it seems that no money spared in the
construction of gov't buildings.
There's no reason to make stair steps all the same size if people paid
attention ALL of the time.
You lived in Germany, right? I would suppose you were on the base most
of the time, but I don't know - maybe you had a similar
experience/observation. When I lived in Italy for my junior year
abroad (no, I didn't wear dresses, Don), in the heart of Rome, I heard
exactly two fire engines. Two. In a year. I hear more than that in a
week where I live now, and that has far newer buildings and a far lower
population density. Why would that be? Oh, right. Masonry buildings
that don't burn.
Agree? Agree to what? No one mentioned your personal pet peeve.
Of the 62 we own, there are none framed in wood. I know some of
the neighboring districts do have some, however.
Permanent structures for E usage require non flammable
construction in BOCA and IBC. These are the codes past and
Keep the whole world singing. . . .
Is that like a CDROM?
If masonry construction is so expensive, how come masonry construction
is so common in apartment developments and malls? It's not like the
developer is intentionally trying to piss money away. Code obviously
is a factor, but it's a cost/benefit analysis that rules the day. If
the apartments were temporary, or meant to be mobile - like temporary
classrooms - of course they'd be wood or steel stud.
Your pet peeve blinds you to certain issues. It makes it difficult to
talk to you sometimes because you have that certain pathway burnt into
your brain. Google the energy usage of a baby's brain as opposed to an
adult brain. You'll see what I mean about the burnt in pathways.
You have made it clear that you feel public schools are anathema. You
convey the message that they should not exist. That viewpoint
inevitably leads to the conclusion that any public school expenditure
is a waste of money. I disagree. There's no argument that gobs of
money are pissed away. But making a long-lasting building that is
inherently safer would seem to be money well spent. Seems to me the
money is wasted in other areas.
You were in FL. Were there any public shelter buildings that were wood
framed? How about in IN? I have yet to hear anyone say, "The
twister's coming, Ma! Let's hightail it over to Jeb's. He has wood
trusses and engineered wood joists!" It's not just about fire.
I must be getting alzheimers cause I don't remember saying masonry
construction is so expensive.
In fact, 90% of the homes built in Florida over the past 40 years or so are
masonry, especially the most inexpensive homes.
It's not like the
Yours do the same thing Rico and it is up to each of us to recognize them
and deal with them accordingly.
You happen to be pro-gov't and I'm not and neither one of us is likely to
change the other.
Another one of your pet peeves is taking debate personally.
I don't think you're a noob at this stuff so I'm perplexed why you allow
your emotions to control you so.
It makes it difficult to
Yeah, we're all victims of our experiences but the bigger issue is why my
baggage is YOUR concern?
Its impossible for me to understand the rationale behind the idea of
spending stolen money well.
The fact is, stolen money is rarely spent well and complacency by the
victims of the theft sanctions the thieves to steal even more.
Haven't you been paying attention to the news articles in your city paper
about the continuous debacles associated with the construction of public
If not, then maybe you should.
A brand new public shelter was completed in early 2004 in Punta Gorda, FL
and promptly failed when hurricane Charlie knocked on its door in Aug of
It was constructed of concrete and steel.
Of the 150+ wooden homes on the islands of Useppa and North Captiva, which
were directly in the eye of the storm, only one completely failed and I
posted it right here in this group because I did the restoration drawing for
it, the balance sustained varying degrees of damage or none at all.
The assumption that masonry and steel is inherently better then wood is
How about in IN? I have yet to hear anyone say, "The
You'd mentioned that wood works just fine if all other issues are
factored in and compensated for. That means risk and longevity factors
as well as the hard costs of construction. My point was that simply
stating a particular construction system doesn't necessarily indicate
the effectiveness and efficiency of the complete building.
As far as the blind spots in our psyches, of course. I have them in
spades. Some of them I'm aware of, some of them I'm not. A
self-respecting blind spot doesn't advertise it's presence. In this
thread, you advertised yours. You brought up governmental spending in
a thread about a private sector manufacturing defect. I merely pointed
I'm not pro-government anymore than I am pro-death. They're just a
facts of life. You can bitch about them all you want, they're not
I'm not taking this personally, and not sure why you'd say so. It's
not about you and me.
Emotional? On this stuff? Please. Vaguely annoyed that you miss no
chance to harp on the same government issues - sure. It gets old.
Let's flip it around. Say I was a born again and had heard the word.
Say I didn't miss a chance to throw in a comment about how sinners were
ruining architecture and building, someone doing shoddy work was a
blasphemy against the lord, etc. How long do you think it would take
before you were stomping all over me for my harping? Five posts, maybe
- if you were in a patient mood.
Your comment about governmental overspending in municipal buildings has
nothing to do with why the joists failed. Unless, of course, you can
accurately extrapolate your opinions with the US government to a school
building in the UK, and can tie the joist failure from a presumably
independent private sector manufacturer to political graft or something
When you bring unrelated stuff up in a thread, it becomes part of the
discussion, doesn't it? I didn't realize there were things that were
off limits. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, pick a fight or
anything like that. That part about pathways burnt into the brain is
very interesting stuff - if you aren't already aware of the mechanism,
you should read about it. It's curious how efficient brain activity
apparently inhibits creative thought patterns. I thought you'd be
Ever hear of Robin Hood. :)
There are debacles and unjustness everywhere. Focusing on that is not
healthy. I prefer to attempt to maintain a more positive aspect,. I
have more than my share of cynicism, so sometimes it's an effort - it's
worth the effort.
My aunt and uncle are in Punta Gorda, so I heard some of the horror
stories. I'm hoping I won't have to hear any new ones.
I'm not sure which public shelter in Punta Gorda you're referring to -
was it the one in Arcadia that was finished just before Charley?
That's the only one I know of that failed and I thought that was a
pre-engineered steel building with some masonry infill, not concrete.
I'm not aware of a recently completed concrete facility that had
anything other than superficial/minor damage.
Better in relation to what? Concrete is better in impact resistance,
steel is easier to accurately engineer, moment connections are more
easily designed in reinforced concrete and steel, termites don't eat
concrete and steel, etc. If I wanted to argue the superiority of wood
for the structural integrity and longevity of a building, I wouldn't
choose stick framing and I wouldn't choose trusses and engineered
joists. Timber framing performs better in fires than steel if the wood
members are of sufficient size.
Don't take this stuff personally, Don, it's not meant that way.
They're just my opinions and observations. Take it for what it's
This type of comparison can actually be misleading. Emergency response
vehicles (at least here in south Florida) have the same siren as fire
trucks and Italy, so far as I saw in 8 years in Milan, doesn't have an
fire department equivalent to an ERV. Also, you have to compare actual
fires to fires, as opposed to emergency responses, the bulk of which
may not be fire related at all.
That said, according to this article
http://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavIDY fire loss is apparently
higher in the US residences than in some western European countries.
The article cites public awareness and education as key difference, as
well as prevention.
In the studios that I worked in Milan, I did not see an NFPA 101 type
manual of basic fire codes, much less more detailed manuals like NFPA
13 (some of the provisions of which could drive one batty).
Nevertheless, fire marshalls do inspect construction in Italy and do
sign off, businesses have fire extinguishers, checks are regularly
made, etc. On the other hand, the vast majority of historic buildings
don't have fire sprinklers.
Citing the construction of a building I don't think is nearly as
critical as the contents and surface finishes in the building. After
all, a concrete apartment with carpeting, curtains and wallpaper full
of books and papers is more of a fire hazard than an wood framed
apartment without such finishes and contents.
Also, most historical buildings (pre-1900) have timber supported
floors, with only unreinforced masonry exteriors. Whether such a
building succombs faster to fire I don't think affects the general
response time or the frequency of response of fire personnel.
I think that frequency of fires has a more to do with people simply
being more conscientious of what they are doing. The Ashland article
points to more education as being a key difference, but in my searches
I also found this article, which I happen to agree with more:
There is a lot more 'paranoia' here in the US than in Western Europe,
and I think that is the biggest factor of them all. As a related
tangent, yesterday I happened to read Rated X language in the Palm
Beach County land development code. Where would such language be, you
ask? Why, the definition of sexual activities, of exposure, under the
definitions of adult entertainment:
"17) Specified Anatomical Areas
Less than completely and opaquely covered:
a) Human genitals and pubic region; or
b) the opening between the human buttocks, i.e., the anal cleft; or
c) that portion of the human female breast encompassed within an area
falling below the horizontal line one would have to draw to intersect a
point immediately above the top of the areola (the colored ring around
the nipple); this definition shall include the entire lower portion of
the female breast, but shall not include any portion of the cleavage of
the human female breast exhibited by a dress, blouse, shirt, leotard,
bathing suit, or other wearing apparel, provided the areola is not so
d) human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if
completely and opaquely covered.
18) Specified Sexual Activities
a) Human genitals in a state of sexual stimulations, arousal, or
b) acts of human anilingus, bestiality, buggery, cunnilingus,
coprophagy, coprophilia, fellation, flagellation, masochism,
masturbation, necrophilia, pederasty, pedophilia, sadism,
sadomasochism, sexual intercourse, or sodomy; or
c) fondling or other erotic touching of human genitals, pubic region,
buttock, anus, or female breast; or
d) excretory functions as part of or in connection with any of the
activities set forth in subsections of Art. 4.B.1.A.2.b.17)-18),
Specified Anatomical Areas and Specified Sexual Activities."
Perhaps the most laughable piece of zoning code I've ever run across.
And the result of paranoia and overlitigiousness.
Italy does, of course, have firefighting ERVs.
As far as the response frequency and demographics, even if only 5 or
10% of fire _engine_ responses here are fire related, that's still a
far higher fire rate than what I witnessed in Italy.
South Florida uses the same sirens? That seems odd to me. Same
You said Italian and inspections in the same sentence! LOL Northern
Italy is vastly different than southern. Friends visited Sicily a few
years back and were aghast that the hotel they were in was building a
_major_ addition without permits or _plans_!
In all of this discussion, there is an implied "all other things being
equal". You've pointed out a valid inequality. Let's ignore it. ;)
Absolutely. Ummm, what exactly am I agreeing to? I don't catch your
meaning. I don't think response time, building age, or response
frequency (?) has anything to do with the building construction in any
case, does it?
I posted something on one newsgroup or another about Holland removing
the traffic control devices in one particularly dangerous intersection
and how it improved safety. Couldn't agree with the reasoning more.
Stop. You're making me hot.
Most inane. It's okay to show the cleavage side of the breast, but not
the outside or bottom? Why not just state Cova Da Nips? I'm sure
Western civilization would collapse if people saw nipples.
That is the classic Italian fire truck.
The ERVs I was thinking of are:
which fire departments in south Florida use to regularly attend to car
accidents, for instance. I Vigili del Fuoco in Italy (I don't believe)
are called on with the same frequency for these kinds of accidents. My
point being that fire departments in Italy probably don't respond the
same way they do here, independantly of frequency of fires.
ERV and fire trucks have the same sirens. In Italy, the sirens used to
be the two toned sound, but in the late 80s early 90s they converted to
a similar siren sound like that used in the US, though I don't remember
now if that is also the case for fire trucks. Ambulances and police
Yes, 'abusive' construction is common all over Italy, but particularly
in Sicily, Campagnia and Calabria. I don't know how bad it is Puglia
and Basilicata. But there are honest towns in these regions also.
You raised the issue of low frequency of fire truck citings in Rome
versus where you live, with the implication that masonry construction
had a lot to do with the difference in number of fires. My point is
that masonry construction has very little to do with it, since fire
fighters will quickly respond when called upon. The frequency of
accidental fires is a function of people's awareness and care;
construction may help protect people when fires arise but it's not a
given that masonry construction reduces the number of fires among the
same set of people.
If you remember from your stay in Italy, porn magazine covers are
easily visible at any kiosk, for any child to see. And yet, life goes
Big shit boxes full of toys.
They're all over Cape Coral, that babyshit yellow-green color.
When that kid killed his dad behind my house 2 years ago 8 BIG firetrucks
showed up, 40-50 people running up and down the street.
When I see an ERV on call with lights and siren blaring its going about
35mph and there's a fat chick driving it.
When I see the occupants at Wendy's they have all sorts of radios and
gimmicks hanging all over them, they look like circus clowns.
I imagine they all will soon start wearing SWAT gear.
I mean, its so stylish, and helps to make the sheeple more comfortable for
whats in store for them on down the line..........
No, not a given, but I never saw evidence of a building fire. Period.
I saw car fires and fires in the woods (campfires run amok?), but not
one charred window, roof, nothing. I was there a relatively short
time, but I probably spent four or five times as much time outdoors,
hiking the streets and traveling as I do here, so it was espresso time
(I've trademarked that, so don't even think about lifting it!). It's
indicative, not a given.
Your point about awareness is interesting, but I can't imagine that a
broad population would be that much more aware. The furnishings and
how the room is outfitted also has a big impact, but I think that feeds
into my viewpoint. Schools are required to utilize fire retardant
fabric for wallcoverings and the like, so
The first time I witnessed such things I was ten years old. My father
had been invited to Italy to teach and he dragged the family along. At
the time I'd rather have spent time hanging out with my friends, but
walking around Rome the first day and seeing Brigitte Bardot on an
advetising poster on a telephone pole, with her shirt open and her
jeans unzipped...well, it kind of took some of the sting of missing my
friends away. ;)
I compared a PDF from the Italian website:
to the American one: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/statistics/national /
and came up with the following salient points:
Total number of fires on average in Italy over past 6 years (1996-2002)
As above for US: 1,800,000/year.
As a percentage of total population, that's 190,000/55,000,000 to
or .0034 Italian fires per Italian to .0064 US fires per American- a
difference of 1 to 2 (the US has twice as many fires as Italy, on
Of the 1,800,000 roughly 570,000 are structure fires, the bulk of these
being residential (24% of the total or 432,000.) Per the spreadsheet
under residential fire webpage, 26% are caused by cooking, 11% caused
by heating elements; 36% listed as 'unknown'.
In Italy, of the 190,000 fires listed, they have stats on only 50,000
which seem directly relatable to buildings ("seems" is the key word;
the PDF by the Vigili del Fuoco lists 108,000 fires as 'unknown' so
it's impossible to get a good statistic). Of the 50,000 detailed ones,
26% were caused by faulty electrical circuitry, 14% by chimneys and
another 14% by cigarettes (versus 2% in the US, which works out to
8,640 cigarette fires, versus the 7,300 cigarette fires in Italy, but
Italians smoke more than Americans, maybe even 5 to 1, which would make
these numbers equitable on a population basis... 8640/280000000 x 5 to
7300/55,000,000 means .0001 smoking related fires per person whether in
Italy or US.)
So the causes of the fires varies from population to population, and as
I noted is primarily based on people's awareness, independant of type
of construction, especially given the primary types of causes listed.
It would seem from the stats above, for instance, that Americans have a
hard time keeping their eyes on the stove/toaster/microwave, while
Italians are crappy electricians and don't know how to clean/handle a
80% of all fires in homes in FL are generated in the range or air handler so
fire suppression system mandated in these 2 areas would render the fire
Why don't the code officials address this issue?
Not at all.
People set a pot of grub on the range and walk in the other room to pick up
a phone call and forget the grubs cooking.
People forget to clean the intake grill of the air conditioner, leave it on
and then go to work, the motor overheats.
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